Queso fresco is a fresh cheese that is usually found in a wheel shape and packaged with liquid. It crumbles well and can also shred, and provides a sweet subtle milky flavor, with a hint of tang.
So… Can you melt queso fresco? Yes, you can melt this milky cheese but this is a very popular question and offers much debate. Although it is not a creamy cheese, queso fresco can in fact be melted. Because of its mild flavor, queso fresco can be a great cheese to melt, making it versatile in recipes while not competing with the overall flavor profile.
What is Queso Fresco Cheese Used For?
Queso fresco is made from fresh cow’s milk (sometimes goat milk is used) that has been curdled with an acid like lemon or vinegar. It is similar in texture to a greek feta cheese and can be used crumbled on top of food, or melted and mixed in various recipes.
Its overall salty and slightly acidic flavor profile lends queso fresco to be versatile in a lot of different recipes and cuisines.
- Crumbled on top of enchiladas or tacos
- Smeared on elote (also known as street corn)
- Served on pizza
- Used in a queso dip
- Shredded with other cheeses inside of a quesadilla
- Served with a fruit salad as a salty companion
- Used as a garnish on top of soup
Can You Melt Queso Fresco?
While you can melt queso fresco, it doesn’t melt like other cheeses or have the same creamy end-product as say a monterrey jack or american cheese does. But, depending on what you are using it for, there are a couple different ways to get queso fresco to melt.
Because it is a fresh cheese, if you just heat queso fresco in a pan by itself, it will not become creamy and smooth. Instead, it will stay clumped or become stringy in texture. With a little finesse though, you can melt queso fresco.
It can also be added to other cheeses, along with milk and other ingredients to make a delicious cheese dip or sauce that is perfect to pour over grilled chicken, rice, or even enchiladas.
How Do You Melt Queso Fresco?
Melting queso fresco is doable, but don’t expect the same results as say melting american cheese. There are two main ways to melt queso fresco if you are looking for a smooth mixture, and endless ways to enjoy it.
1. The Stove
The stove is a good method for melting queso fresco as you can keep an eye on it and ensure it doesn’t burn. Also, if you are needing to melt a large amount, doing so on the stove is recommended.
- Start by grating or shredding your queso fresco. Doing this step will help the fresh, milky cheese to heat evenly and quickly which also aids in the way it melts.
- Pour some evaporated milk (the stuff from the can) into a wide skillet or saucepan set over medium low heat.
- Once the milk starts to steam and bubble, add your shredded queso fresco to the pan.
- Stir the cheese and milk mixture continuously with a whisk as the cheese melts.
- Once the cheese is melted, serve right away!
As you whisk, the cheese will break its form allowing for a smoother texture. The evaporated milk helps it to stay in a cohesive mixture. If more milk is needed for a thinner consistency, add 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to whisk.
2. The Microwave
Using the microwave works well to melt queso fresco, but you will need to “babysit” it so it doesn’t burn.
- Grate or shred the queso fresco. Doing this step will help ensure the cheese evenly melts.
- Add the cheese to a microwave safe bowl, be sure not to fill it to the top. Allow some space for the cheese to bubble.
- Microwave the queso fresco for 1 minute and then stir.
- Continue cooking in 30 second increments, stirring at each interval until fully melted.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk if needed to thin out the cheese.
- Serve right away!
You can keep the cheese warm and melted by placing the bowl over a pot of simmering water. This is great if using the queso fresco as a dip.
Why Is My Queso Fresco Cheese Not Melting?
Queso fresco cheese can melt, but it is a little tricky and the overall texture is slightly different than what you may be used to. If you’re having trouble melting your queso fresco cheese, try some of these troubleshooting tips.
- Make sure you started with shredded or grated queso fresco cheese. If you try to melt the entire solid block of cheese, you won’t be successful.
- Add a little milk or evaporated milk to the cheese as you heat it to help thin it out. This also helps to make a more homogeneous mixture.
- Cook the queso fresco a little longer. Queso fresco can take a while to melt, so just be patient.
Frequently Asked Questions
Queso fresco is a delicious cow’s milk cheese that makes the perfect addition to tacos, street corn, dips, and more. But, it is not as common as other cheeses so you may have some more questions.
What is the best Mexican cheese for melting?
There are so many Mexican cheeses – all unique and delicious in their own way. While several of them are used for melting there are a couple that stand out.
Oaxaca cheese, similar to Monterrey Jack, is a semi hard cheese that is excellent for melting. Another great Mexican cheese to melt is Queso Blanco. This cheese is a favorite in many Mexican restaurants and is used for queso dips, enchiladas, sauces, and more.
Is queso fresco the same as mozzarella?
Queso fresco and mozzarella are not the same. Mozzarella is much milder in flavor, while queso fresco is a little tangier. Mozzarella also melts better than queso fresco.
Can you put queso fresco on pizza?
You can absolutely crumble some queso fresco on your pizza. Putting it on before baking it, will result in little warm clumps of salty cheese. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle some on top of your hot pizza for a little burst of flavor.
The fresh queso fresco cheese is delicious inside of and on top of so many things. Whether you crumble some on tacos, a salad, or pizza or melt it to be used as a dip or pour it over your rice, there are lots of great uses for queso fresco.